Mixed-gender idol groups aren't too common in K-pop for the simple fact that they just aren't very successful. However, one group trying to change that is DSP Media’s K.A.R.D.
While they have yet to make a real impact in Korea, K.A.R.D quickly amassed a sizeable international fanbase with the release of their infectious debut single “Oh Na Na” in December. Without official promotions, the track made the top ten of Billboard’s World Songs chart and has since racked up over 7 million views on YouTube.
The co-ed quartet are hoping to repeat that success with their second single, “Don't Recall”. Like “Oh Na Na”, K.A.R.D dive right back into tropical house with splashes of synthpop and dancehall. They've found their sound are they're sticking to it, which is refreshing at a time when many rookies are rapidly switching styles in search of a quick hit.
The big difference with “Don't Recall” is how less catchy it is to its predecessor. While “Oh Na Na” was just one frothy hook and addictive melody after the other, “Don't Recall” takes on a more serious, angsty vibe. The whole production revolves around waiting for a great, post-chorus beat drop, which is the clear standout for listeners looking for something sticky to dance to.
For that reason, “Don't Recall” sounds less like K-pop and more like typical American pop, which tends to focus on relatable lyrics and inoffensive, radio-friendly production. K.A.R.D’s sexy, hip-hop image and twerking choreography also reflects their Western sound. It's not hard to see why the group is winning over international listeners while being more-or-less irrelevant at home in Korea.
Overall, I'd say it's a smart decision on DSP’s part to craft K.A.R.D as a global group. The label hasn't had much luck domestically since KARA anyway, and groups like T-ara, B.A.P, and U-Kiss have shown that it's possible to survive, and even thrive, by being big outside of Korea.
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